And the Battle Is On

I am fighting a battle.  Sometimes, I win; sometimes, I lose.  Sometimes, I hide from the battle; sometimes, I engage with all swords swinging.  I’ve fought this battle with diabetes since 2005.

This morning, I woke up to the fact that I was, once again, in losing mode.  I sat quietly, praying about my battle, asking the Lord what in the world I could do to move beyond “square one.”  He reminded me of the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT):  “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.”

As I pondered those words, I was reminded of Colossians 1:9 that “God will fill me with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

What do those verses have in common?  Well, they may not speak to you, but they said volumes to me.

I realize that I have knowledge…knowledge of my battlefield…knowledge that God is on my side…knowledge that He is helping me.  I know what the battle is and I know what to do to combat the enemy.

I realize that I also have understanding.  I know what the battle looks like; I understand the ramifications of losing the daily skirmish.  My understanding is high, as is my knowledge.  So, what am I lacking?

Wisdom.  I began asking God for His wisdom on how to use the knowledge and understanding I already have.  I began to feel His smile as He said softly to my soul, “Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong…”

So, today I go into my daily battle, sword in hand, covered with His armor, moving toward victory.  I’m standing firm, being courageous, and strong…in the power of His might.

I’ve asked to be removed from this battle, and so far, He hasn’t granted that desire.  But He has given me His sufficiency to stand firm, knowing Jesus is standing at my side and His Holy Spirit lives within to conquer my foe.

Sometimes, you can’t pick your battles, but you surely can decide how you are going to fight.  And, you can stand with the One who has already won.


Do I Even Ask?

We’ve all heard that God answers prayer.  That’s a given if we are believers.  We’ve even heard that God answers in three ways:  Yes!  No!  Wait!  We accept that because not all our prayer requests are in His sovereign will.  But I will have to admit, sometimes, I don’t even ask.  That happened to me this past week.

My husband, Michael, was mowing in our community.  He, many times, will mow along the edges of our road so the appearance is a good one.  He sometimes, mows the yards of community members who don’t live here, just to help them out.

However, last week, he’d been mowing and had stopped several times to walk back into some paths that we have in our green belt.  After a while, as he was visiting with our neighbor, he realized he’d lost one of his hearing aids sometime during the afternoon.

He came home very sad, realizing it would be like finding the proverbial “needle in the haystack” to actually find that hearing aid.  It was sadness all around as we began thinking of the process to get it replaced.

Several hours later, our doorbell rang, and there stood our neighbor and his wife, John and Pat.  John handed Mike the lost hearing aid with these words, “Here’s a gift for you.  We found it.”  The look on Mike’s face was astonishment and he asked, “How in the world did you ever find it.”  John replied that they decided to go looking where Mike had been that afternoon.  Pat’s response, however, told the true tale.  She smiled as she said, “It was through prayer.  I asked God to find it…I looked down, and there it was.”

Mike was excited and stunned at the finding.  I, however, had a different feeling, one of conviction.  I hadn’t even considered asking God to find it since it was impossible.  I am so grateful for a woman of faith that stepped in and prayed and then acted on her prayers.  She stood in our place and God came through.

God does answer prayer.  Yes, He does.  Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no; sometimes, wait, but He always answers.  This time, it was yes, with a priceless add-on.  He seemed to be adding, “Don’t be afraid to pray for the impossible.  Use your gift of faith.  I am a God of surprises!”

And so He is!

Little By Little

There are some days I get so irritated by the fact that I keep failing in some critical areas of my life.  I find myself “getting down” on myself for my failures and for the fact that I don’t seem to be making progress very fast at all.  This is a recurring thought process of mine.

Then, the Lord showed me a verse that took the pressure and the guilt away for me.  It’s a little verse in Deuteronomy…yes, you heard me, Deuteronomy.  It isn’t often I read in that Old testament book.  But, there it was…chapter 7, verse 22:

“The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.  You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

I love, love, love this verse!  That short phrase “little by little” was HUGE to me!  With eyes wide open in awe and amazement, I realized that progress in the areas of my life may not come all at once.  But, little by little, the LORD would be changing me and moving those areas to be more like what He expects.  It’s okay if God’s processes and my progress seem slow to me.  He’s at work and I will let Him do things and reveal Himself in His own timing!

Then, the second part of that verse became clear.  Another translation says, “Beasts of the field.”  My question was, “What in the world does the “beasts of the field” mean?  I did a little research and found that they represent pride.  If my progress is too quick, then I may want to take credit for it myself instead of giving God the glory.

Sigh!  What a relief! My job isn’t to complete the changes in my time, but to keep on relinquishing my progress to the God of the Ages, the Almighty, the One Who loves me and has promised to make me into His image…as I go…little by little.

Relief and praise.  That’s what happened to my heart when this verse came alive.  And that wasn’t “little by little.”  It was immediate!  Sometimes, God does do things immediately.  (Smile)

Just How Old Am I?

Yes, I had a birthday…not quite the big 70, but close.  As I settled myself into bed the night before my big day, I began to reminisce about how my life has gone.  Some good, some bad, some ugly.  However, I still had the overwhelming feeling that good things are yet to come.

My thoughts drifted to what the next year might look like.  I’m beginning my 70th year of life on this earth.  That sounds old to me, somehow.  And yet, you are only as old as you feel, right?  J

I sat down the morning of my birthday and began to journal about my next year.  What would happen?  What would I accomplish?  What SHOULD I accomplish?  Since I’m a “bottom line” kind of gal, I realized there were some changes I wanted to make.  Just what were the things I wanted to spend my time on this next year?  Here you are, the thoughts of an aging, yet still comprehending, woman of 69 years:

  1. I want to spend more time with the Lord daily. Now, I do spend time with Him, but I realize that there are some things that can only be discerned through being in God’s Presence.  I want to do that more to discover where He’s sending me and what He has for me to do.
  2. I want to spend more time with my husband. He’s 8 ½ years older than I am.  Either of us could move on to our heavenly home at any time, so spending more time with him seems important.  So, I will.  We even spent all of Tuesday together celebrating one of my bucket list “things to do,” visiting Snoqualmie Falls and having lunch at the Salish Lodge.  Yes, I’ve lived in Washington State for 37 years and never been there.  Check…one item off my newly formed bucket list done.
  3. I want to encourage women of all ages toward growth in Christ this year. However that might look.

As I wrote these down, I realized, once again, that God is at work…He has His plans for me and it’s my job to make sure I’m listening and waiting for Him to reveal them…not for me to go running helter –skelter ahead of Him.

So, just how old am I?  Old enough to know when to slow down and smell the roses and pick a few to hand to Jesus as He walks down the path with me.  Old enough to know I can trust Him through every circumstance.  “Simply trusting every day.  Trusting through a stormy way.  Even when my faith is small, trusting Jesus, that is all.”

Yes, that is all!

The Lesson Found in the Unexpected

I sat calmly on the plane in Kansas City, waiting for it to take off.  I was on my way home to the Seattle area after a 6 day visit to the Midwest to visit family.  I was chatting with the young woman next to me, enjoying an unexpected camaraderie with a new “friend.”

I began to get a little nervous when the pilot came over the PA with these words, “We are experiencing a little difficulty with our computer.  It isn’t downloading the flight instructions, so we are entering the information by hand.  It shouldn’t be too long, though, before we are ready to push back from the gate.”  My nervousness didn’t come from the computer problem, however.  I glanced at my watch, realizing the time crunch that would happen on the other end of the flight because of our delay in departing KC.

You see, I only had 40 minutes for touchdown, taxi to the gate, deplane (I was in row 22), and get all the way across SEATAC airport to the bus shuttle to take me home.  I knew I was pushing the envelope even with no delay in departing KC.  I had even kept my luggage with me on the plane instead of checking it, just so I didn’t have to “waste time” at the baggage claim.

Well, the best laid plans…and all that.  I found myself growing impatient as we landed and I began to watch the 66 people ahead of me deplaning slowly.  It seemed to take FOREVER for them to get their bags and move down the aisle.

Then, the young woman next to me asked if everything was alright.  I told her I was concerned that I might miss my shuttle home.  She said calmly, with a bright smile, “Well, we’ll just pray you make it.”  With those few words, she brought my attention back to where it should have been all along – dependent and assured in my Lord Jesus Christ.

At that moment, I remembered the many times I had told people, “When things go askew, praise the Lord.  When things don’t seem to be going right for you, praise Him anyway.  Praise, praise, praise, even when it’s a sacrifice.”  Talk about getting “called on the carpet.”  I bowed my head and told the Lord I was sorry and that I did praise Him that the plane was late AND that I might miss my shuttle AND that He was the blessed Controller of ALL things, even late planes.

As I prayed those words, I realized that the worse that could happen would be sitting in the airport for a couple of hours for the next shuttle home.  Not the end of the world.  My making the shuttle wasn’t the point of the lesson.  The point was the attitude of my heart.  Praise certainly brings the attitude into submission to the Great One, the One Who handles all things well.

Oh, and by the way, after rushing through the airport faster than “a speeding bullet” (at least that’s what it felt like to me), I made the shuttle with five minutes to spare.

Praise Him even in the tough times…no, especially in the tough times.  He is faithful, yes, faithful to me.